The knowledge on health benefits of garlic dates back to ancient Hindu epics. An incident in the manuscripts quotes that drops of heavenly nectar were accidentally spilt on the Himalaya Mountains, and after a few days a small plant with the divine properties of the next was found growing. This plant was called ‘Rason’ meaning ‘king of rasas as it possesses five out of six tastes (taste, sweet, salt, pungent, bitter and astringent except sour). Rason is known as garlic in English, and its biological name is Allium sativum. For over years it has been used as a natural flavouring agent in cuisines and extensively used for its medicinal value. The potential health benefits of garlic reside in one of its natural component, allicin, a strong antimicrobial. Allicin is the main active component in garlic, which in turn forms the other active components of garlic accounting for a list of health benefits.
The Himalayan wonder Garlic is a natural garlic product devoid of preservatives or any processing. It is the only form of garlic with the potential to grow in the snowy mountains and withstand the freezing temperatures. It can be included as a nutritional supplement on daily basis.
|Boosts immune system|
|Fungal infections||Ringworm, jock itch, and athlete’s foot|
|Viral infections||Common cold|
|Cancer||Lowers the risk to most types of cancer|
|Cardiovascular disease||Lowering blood pressure, prevention of atherosclerosis, reduction of serum cholesterol and triglyceride, inhibition of platelet aggregation, and increasing fibrinolytic activity|
|High blood pressure|
|Respiratory disorders||Asthma, bronchitis|
|Iron uptake||Increases the production of body ferroportin|
Side effects of garlic supplements (7):
Avoid garlic supplements (oral capsule/ tablet)
- In cases of allergic to garlic showing allergy symptoms like hives, difficult breathing, and swelling of your face lips, tongue, or throat.
- If planning to conceive
- If on lactation period
- If on certain prescribed medicines (in detail in garlic intervention section)
- If skin shows redness, swelling, or blistering when applied on skin
- If bleeding issues occur like nosebleeds, bleeding gums; also recommended to avoid supplements for at least two weeks before surgery and dental treatment as it hinders blood clotting
- If suffering for over bleeding during menstruation
Common side effects (on eating raw garlic):
- Unpleasant breath or body odor
- Heartburn, burning in your mouth or throat
- Nausea, vomiting, gas or
Latest studies on Garlic:
- Antibacterial activity: Allicin, a active constituent in garlic extracts shows potential antibacterial activity against E. coli, S. aureus and B. subtilis, at concentrations lower than that of the standard drug amoxicillin demonstrated by zone of inhibition test (9).
- Cardiovascular diseases: The organosulfur compounds in garlic metabolises into diallyl sulfide, diallyl disulfide, diallyl trisulfide, diallyl tetrasulfide, ajoene and S-allyl cysteines show a broad range of cardiovascular benefits. A meta-analysis study of 1,649 participants showed significant reduction in blood TC, LDL-C and FBG levels, along with SBP and DBP compared to control substance treated subjects (10).
- Ovarian cancer: Allicin activated JNK pathway in human ovarian cancer cell line SKOV3 resulting in cell apoptosis. The results were confirmed by action of SP600125, an inhibitor of JNK which blocked apoptosis of the cancer cells (11).
- Osteoarthritis: Diallyl disulphide (DADS), another active component of garlic is studied to show histone deacetylases (HDAC) inhibitor activity. The HDACs functions in activating the expression of MMPs, which degrades chondrocytes (12).
- Antiinflammatory activity: Alliin (S-allyl cysteine sulfoxide), an organosulfur compound of garlic significantly reduced the expression of proinflammatory genes, IL-6, MCP-1, and Egr-1 in 3T3-L1 adipocytes by modifying adipocyte metabolic profile (13).
Garlic supplement dosage (8):
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- For high blood pressure: Garlic extract 600-1200 mg divided and given three times daily.
- Aged garlic extract 600 mg to 7.2 grams per day has also been used.
- Fresh garlic 4 grams (approximately one clove) once daily has also been used.
- For prevention of colon, rectal, and stomach cancer: fresh or cooked garlic 3.5-29 grams weekly.
Application on skin:
For fungal skin infections (ringworm, jock itch, athlete’s foot): garlic ingredient ajoene as a 0.4% cream, 0.6% gel, and 1% gel applied twice daily for one week
Garlic has made its way in culinaries around the globe as in pickles, pastas, salads, and forms of garlic breads, sauces, and the variety of curries of Asian countries. Studies have shown that the best way to retain the health benefits of garlic while cooking is to add crushed or chopped garlic just before finishing of the cooking process so as to not lose the allicin when stirred into foods at very high temperatures. Here are some picks on garlic infused menu around the globe.
Easy indian recipe
Easy western recipe
Garlic bulbs are harvested and cool-dried to prevent allicin from forming until the garlic contacts water in the digestive tract. These are made available in market under different brands as tablets. They can be included as a daily supplement as per the supplier’s instruction included in the product. Some of the well known products are as below:
|Odor Control Garlic||Garlic -- 1250 mg - 100 Tablets, Nature Made Odor Control Garlic Equivalent Dietary Supplement|
|Garlinase Fresh||4,000 mg of garlic - 100 Tablets|
|Garlic Bulb||Nature's Way, Garlic Bulb, 580 mg, 100 Capsules|
|Kyolic aged garlic extract||Aged Garlic Extract™ [300 mg] (per capsule)|
|Once-Per-Day Garlic||Garlic Once-Per-Day Pure-Gar® Supplement; 6000 mcg of Allicin Yield and 13,200 mcg of Alliin.|
A combination of certain medications along with garlic in diet hinders the absorption of the drug. Avoiding consumption of garlic when on these prescriptions results in effective absorption of the drug. Lists of such medications are:
|Drug name||Disease treated|
|Isoniazid (INH, Nydrazid)||Tuberculosis|
|Non-Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NNRTIs)||HIV/AIDS|
|Saquinavir (Fortovase, Invirase)||HIV/AIDS|
|TriphasilOrtho-Novum 1/35, Ortho-Novum 7/7/7||Contraceptive pills|
|Cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune)||Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriasis|
Certain other medications metabolized in liver may be affected as garlic decreases their breakdown and results in increased side effects. Some such medications are:
|Drug name||Conditions treated|
|Acetaminophen||Pain reliever and a fever reducer|
|Chlorzoxazone (Parafon Forte)||Painful musculoskeletal conditions|
|Theophylline||Asthma and COPD|
|Enflurane (Ethrane)||For anesthesia during surgery|
|Halothane (Fluothane)||For anesthesia during surgery|
|Isoflurane (Forane)||For anesthesia during surgery|
|Methoxyflurane (Penthrane)||For anesthesia during surgery|
|Diltiazem, nicardipine, verapamil||Calcium channel blockers for heart disorders|
|Etoposide, paclitaxel, vinblastine, vincristine, vindesine||Cancer drugs|
|Ketoconazole, itraconazole||Fungus-fighting drugs|
|Alfentanil (Alfenta)||For anesthesia during surgery|
|Cisapride (Propulsid)||Gastroesophageal reflux disease|
|Fentanyl (Sublimaze)||Potent narcotic analgesic|
|Lidocaine (Xylocaine)||Local anesthetic|
|Nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia)||High blood pressure|
|Isradipine (DynaCirc)||High blood pressure|
|Felodipine (Plendil)||High blood pressure|
|Amlodipine (Norvasc)||High blood pressure|
|Aspirin||Pain, fever, and inflammation|
|Clopidogrel (Plavix)||Slows blood clotting after heart attack and stroke|
|Diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others)||Pain, fever, and inflammation|
|Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others)||Pain, fever, and inflammation|
|Naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others)||Pain, fever, and inflammation|
- Health Benefits of Raw Garlic Vs. Cooked Garlic
- Garlic Benefits, Research, Usage, Side Effects
- All About Garlic
- MedlinePlus: Garlic
- Nature's Wealth: Garlic Once-Per-Day
- WebMD: Garlic
- Indian J Pharm Sci. 2014 May-Jun; 76(3): 256–261.
- Nutr Res Pract. 2014 Dec;8(6):644-54. doi: 10.4162/nrp.2014.8.6.644. Epub 2014 Nov 28.
- Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;2014:378684. doi: 10.1155/2014/378684. Epub 2014 Jul 8.
- BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2010 Dec 8;11:280. doi: 10.1186/1471-2474-11-280.
- Mediators Inflamm. 2013;2013:381815. doi: 10.1155/2013/381815. Epub 2013 Dec 26.